Monday, March 4, 2013

3/3/13 Watershed Preserve Trail Marathon

My 5th time here.  The official race name is the Northwest Trail Runs Spring Run for Fun.  I will keep calling it the Watershed Preserve marathon for my organizational purposes.  Same course as last year.  A five mile loop with two out and backs added on to make it 6.55 miles.  Four loops equals a marathon.

Surprising that I am here.  First marathon post injury was just two weeks ago.  I recovered so well from that I ran the 15K last weekend and that went great.  I have decided to try to build on my fledgling endurance and have another go at a long distance today.  No time expectations, just give it a good effort and get in an endurance run.  I'll try o run each loop at 1:15 and hope to beat 5 hours.

Cold but sunny.  A humid cold though.  I will wear gloves till mile 2 and keep my hat on the whole way.  The trail is damp and squishy but no big puddles or deep mud.  New this year is that we have to park a mile from the start and take a shuttle bus.  I bring two bags with dry clothes and other possible essentials.  No waiting for the shuttle, it is not a hassle.  8:30 early start and most of the marathoners choose that time.  We do not start until 8:42 but I do not mind waiting and chatting with fellow runners.

Loop 1 - 1:11
I start way in the back and take my time moving up to my place.  About a 12:30 pace to start and get up the first hills.  Ron and Jackie staffing the aid station that is more than halfway out there.  Fun to see them each time.  There is a very nice wide smooth gradual downhill for about a mile on the back half of the loop and I get my pace under 11/mile.  Then the twisty uphills, but really not a difficult trail.  This is where I ran my first trail marathon and it is still one of my favorite courses in terms of trail difficulty and the logistics of racing here.  No horses yet, but I am expecting the stampede of the 9:30 starters (5 mile, 10 mile, half marathon and regular start marathon) as I am now heading back to the start and finish area.  Now the blazing fast runners zoom at me, and then the hordes of other runners.  At least 100 runners all coming toward me on the two lane trail.  Just about all of them stay to their right and there really are no close calls.  Quickest Tracy Marshall sighting ever.  I hope that she catches up to me like last race, except I'd rather be faster than that.

Loop 2 - 1:11
Second loop is fine until the last two miles.  I start to tire and get a little negative in the head. I remember how tough the last marathon was and hope that this one is not so bad. I consider dropping out, but not too seriously.

Loop 3 - 1:21
Catch up to a woman from West Seattle who took the 9:30 start but now we are going about the same pace.  We run together and talk for the second half of the loop.  A really great diversion.  I know that I would have walked more with out her there.  I have my good attitude back and I know that I will finish today.  Earlier I passed a whole bunch of Maniac friends and I am running a little scared that they will start passing me.

Loop 4 - 1:28
Serious slowing but really things are not that bad.  No one is passing me and I am able to run long distances with walking on the uphills.  Just plugging along slowly.  Legs are tightening up some, but an S!Cap and some salt dipped potato at the aid station seems to help.  I won't make 5 hours but now I am motivated to not let any Manic friends pass me and also to beat my time of 5:15 from my last marathon.  If I can reach that one intersection by 5:00 I should be able to make that goal.  Even if I do not, this race has gone way better than the last one.  No pains and I am able to run just about the whole thing.  I am slower than the previous loop, but I think that I am walking less.  I hit the intersection at 5:02.  Now if I can just make it to the clearing by 5:10 I will have no trouble beating 5:15.  Too many turns and ups.  Where is it.  Finally at 5:09 I see the big clearing.  Up the little hill, there is the parking lot, now a turn then another.  One more turn and up a little hill and I will be there, but as I make the last turn, there are two horses blocking the way.  With less than 100 feet to go I have to stop and step to the side of the trail.  It only costs me a few seconds and soon I am running across the finish line.

My worst finish time on this course, but I expected that.  Really I enjoyed the race and am pleased that I am getting some endurance back.  No significant aches or pains.

31 of 62 finishers, 3 of 6 in age group
Marathon or ultra#93

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